Ways of knowing and experiencing the world are not universal, nor are they neutral and value free. They serve many different purposes, not all of which are healthy to the flourishing of people of the Africana World.
Knowledge forms can be imperialistic, seeking to bring the world under the power of its epistemological center and to expand its center outwardly to the margins so that people come to see only one way of knowing that is marked by domination and colonial expansion. For this reason, it is necessary for scholars and intellectuals to produce knowledge that reflects the ways Africana people know and experience the world: their histories, cultures, religions, sciences and literatures. In other words, the study of the Africana World (AAAS), with special attention to data that are produced by Africana people, including African Americans, is critical to a vision of an egalitarian world which can celebrate the contributions of all people and resist forces that flatten or deny the complexities of Black people in service of their subjugation in a hierarchical human taxonomy. This basic premise grounds the work that we do at LSU, and we invite you to share in the wonderful progress that we are making as an academic unit.
LSU’s Department of African & African American Studies faculty produce scholarship that contributes to the interdisciplinary field of Africana Studies. As a body of research that crosses multiple academic disciplines, Africana Studies centers Black thought and lifeways while engaging with major world matters that have affected the African diaspora, including enslavement(s), colonialism, race, racism, politics, religion, social justice, and creative resistance and expression. While we are not tied to area studies, we are particularly interested in the Africana world, with attention to Africa, North America, the Caribbean, and the Black Atlantic. Our faculty also make major contributions to research examining Louisiana culture, history, and social dynamics. They additionally create measurable local impact through community-based projects that facilitate health and quality of life for citizens of and visitors to Louisiana. Furthermore, our faculty prepare students to make contributions to the economy by learning to be culturally adept, increasing their employability and awareness about the world and their place in it. Given our intellectual focus, we prioritize methods that allow for fuller scholarly engagement that foregrounds Black voices. We specialize in historiography, ethnography, quantitative, and additional qualitative modes of inquiry in relation to and tension with one another.